Laser Hemorrhoids Treatment Recovery: Here’s What to Expect
Hemorrhoids are uncomfortable and even painful, but you might be putting off treatment for fear of the recovery process. It's true that every hemorrhoid procedure requires recovery time, but some procedures are more troublesome than others.
Some treatment options involve shrinking or removing the hemorrhoidal tissue with a laser. These procedures can be advantageous because they often involve easier recoveries than traditional procedures. This guide can help to prepare you for what to expect during your laser hemorrhoids treatment recovery.
Recovering from Hemorrhoid Procedures
Hemorrhoids affect a sensitive part of your body. Any medical procedure to reduce or remove hemorrhoids requires a period of recovery, but some procedures demand a longer recovery period than others.
Hemorrhoidectomy is a surgical procedure that is traditionally used for excising serious hemorrhoids from the body. Because the affected tissue is sliced off, leaving a wound behind, recovery can be a lengthy, painful process. In the video below, learn what can be expected during hemorrhoidectomy recovery:
It's worthwhile, therefore, to treat hemorrhoids with nonsurgical interventions when possible. These include laser coagulation and laser ablation for grade 2 and 3 hemorrhoids.
Studies of Noninvasive Laser Procedures
One of the greatest advantages of minimally invasive laser treatments is that they can lessen recovery times and reduce the accompanying pain.
In one study, patients with level 2 and level 3 hemorrhoids received treatment in which a laser was inserted into the affected tissue to irradiate it from within. During the 28 days of observation afterward, the patients reported an average pain level of only 0.84 to 1.13 on a scale of 0 to 10.
Another study examined complications after procedures to vaporize hemorrhoidal tissue with direct-contact diode lasers. Of the 341 qualifying patients, only 12 experienced serious complications during the following year. That amounted to only 3.51 percent of the test group.
None of the test subjects developed a fistula or a stricture after the procedure. Furthermore, none of them experienced a recurrence of their hemorrhoids during the one-year follow-up period.
If hemorrhoidectomy is necessary, a closed excision performed with a laser may ease the recovery compared to an open excision with a traditional scalpel.
When the wound is left open after surgery, there doesn't seem to be much difference in healing time between excision with a scalpel or a laser. However, lasers offer the opportunity to seal the mucosa closed after removing the hemorrhoidal tissue. Performing the surgery this way can improve the recovery period.
This approach to surgery typically requires only local anesthetic, so patients don't have to wake up from general anesthesia after the operation. Therefore, they're usually able to leave the surgery center in about two hours.
Furthermore, research has shown that patients experience less pain after this laser procedure than they do with standard cold scalpel hemorrhoidectomies. Of the 60 laser patients observed in one study, only four required readmittance to the hospital for serious pain or swelling.
What You Should Expect After Treatment
After a laser procedure, you will probably be able to leave the surgery center the same day. In fact, if you do not require full sedation, you may be able to go home within a few hours.
Pain management is usually quite reasonable after minimally invasive laser procedures. Whether you're in the hospital or at home, you may not need much pain medication. In the study of 341 laser patients, most participants did not need to take analgesics afterward.
However, if you find that you are hurting, you should take a pain reliever. Over-the-counter medications are usually sufficient.
Bowel movements may be painful for a few days. Taking an over-the-counter stool softener can help; ask your doctor for recommendations. You should be sure to eat plenty of fiber and drink a lot of water.
It's normal to see a bit of blood on the tissue when you wipe. If you notice bleeding or discharge at other times, you may want to place a protective pad in your underwear.
Sitting in a warm sitz bath multiple times a day can help promote comfort and healing. Watch the following video to learn how to do this:
You may be able to resume normal activities and return to work within one week of your noninvasive laser procedure. Some people are able to go back to work in just one or two days.
Even if you have a laser hemorrhoidectomy, you may not need to devote many sick days to your recovery. In one study, 88 percent of people who had hemorrhoids excised with lasers returned to work within seven days.
Because laser hemorrhoids treatment recovery is often shorter and less painful than the recovery from other procedures, there's no reason to delay treatment. Within just a few days of your procedure, you may start to feel like your old, pre-hemorrhoids self again.
Talk to your doctor about whether a laser procedure could be the best treatment option for your hemorrhoids.
As with all medical issues, your physician is the ultimate source as to what procedure best fits your needs. Discuss all options and get a second opinion if you have any doubts. These articles are intended to be a source of general information only.